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Baby Tummy Time: Safe Play for Healthy Development (page 2)

Baby Tummy Time: Safe Play for Healthy Development

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Updated on Jan 13, 2012

Belly bonding. "If baby can tolerate being positioned on their belly on mommy's chest or another incline such as a nursing pillow (boppy pillow) for 45-60 seconds before getting upset, that is a great place to start," says Oledzka. Your baby loves to look at human faces, so he'll lift up his head to check out one of the most familiar faces.

Toy roundup. Lie your baby on the floor and then place a circle of toys around him. Even if he can't physically reach for the toys, he'll probably be able to lift his head and look around and the offerings. The colors, patterns and characters on his toys will hold his attention enough that he'll practice using his eyes and neck together to check out his surroundings.

Airplane, airplane. Do you have a tiny pilot on your hands? Test and see by playing a little airplane game with your baby to help develop his head and neck muscles. Start by placing one hand under your baby's belly and one under his chest so that he's facedown to the ground but securely in your hands. Slowly swing your baby across the front of your body—he'll probably squeal with delight from the new view and the soothing movement.

Sibling play. If you have older siblings, tummy time is ideal for increasing involvement as a family. Invite older siblings to shake toys, make silly faces and interact with baby as you watch close by. Your baby gets to know the other faces in your home while you banish any sibling jealousy or resentment that has popped up since baby came home.

While tummy time will help your baby's development, don't stress if you baby balks at spending five minutes on his belly. Start with one minute at a time and work up to longer lengths as he learns new skills and strengthens his muscles. Before you know it, he'll be crawling all over the house with the same skills he learned a minute at a time as a newborn.

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